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Photo of Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr..

STATE SENATOR

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Listening to You

Building Connecticut's Bioscience Future

A 2015 economic competitiveness survey of Connecticut found that the state has great assets and economic drivers in research and development, bioscience and health data. Connecticut has some of the world's top research universities, producing students eager to bring their cutting-edge ideas to market. Connecticut also has the benefit of being home to The Jackson Laboratory, as well as numerous other bioscience and precision medicine companies eager to establish the state as a hub for this kind of work, attracting experts from around the world and retaining the current and developing experts the state already has.

bioscience

I led passage of SB 968, which ensures the continued work of the Connecticut Health Data Collaborative (CHDC) working group. The CHDC is tasked with developing and implementing a strategy by which Connecticut can establish itself as a worldwide leader in bioscience and precision medicine. Several of my colleagues in the legislature serve on the CHDC with representatives from Yale, UConn and Connecticut's other bioscience stakeholders, as well as with representatives from the insurance and technology industries. Governor Malloy recently signed SB 968 into law, ensuring the CHDC will continue encouraging the collaboration of business, higher education and government to strengthen and grow Connecticut's bioscience industry.

Granny Pods Offer a Way to Stay Close to Family

As Connecticut's population ages, creative ways to allow elderly people to stay close to home or to family members are being sought, and temporary health care structures, also known as "Granny Pods," are a potential way to do that, according to the AARP. These structures would serve as a more affordable alternative to nursing homes, allowing seniors to receive the care they need while maintaining the independence of living in a home of their own.

seniors

I supported the passage of legislation that will allow municipalities to approve the placement of these "Granny Pods" on residential property. This bill was recently signed into law as Public Act 17-155 by Governor Malloy.

The units would be approximately 300 square feet, ADA compliant, and allow those who use them to have a safe, single-level housing unit on their own property--providing residents with an option other than moving into a nursing care facility or remodeling their existing home to meet the person's current health needs. In the long run, these "Granny Pods" could save both families and our state Medicaid program a significant amount of money.

Enhancing Financial Security for People with Disabilities

Many individuals with disabilities face significant financial challenges. That's why I introduced HB 7032, a bill that enhances and expands the use of tax-advantaged savings accounts, initially created by Connecticut's Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, also known as the ABLE Act. This bill received unanimous, bipartisan support in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature.

The ABLE Act allows families to contribute to a protected account to pay for disability-related expenses, such as transportation and housing, without jeopardizing a person's eligibility for Medicaid and Social Security. The proposed changes will simplify and accelerate adoption of these accounts in CT and even allow CT citizens to access ABLE plans from other states, so that they can shop for the plan with the most competitive offerings.